When you suffer from depression and / or anxiety, your overall health may not be a priority. In fact, you may not even realize other parts of your body are suffering, too. Namely, your oral health. While it may seem like a stretch that your oral health could be connected to your mental health, there are many ways in which depression and anxiety can wreak havoc on your oral health and hygiene. Here are just a few.
FEAR OF THE DENTIST
Often, we encounter people who are afraid of the dentist. In fact, an estimated 70 percent of all people have some degree of dentist-related fear. Whether its the sound of the drill, a dislike of the feeling of the dental tools, or trauma from a bad experience at a previous dentist, dental fear is real and it can keep people away from the dentist for dangerously long periods of time. This can be especially true if you suffer from depression and anxiety.
Unfortunately, if there is an oral health problem present, putting off visiting the dentist can make these problems worse. A cavity can become an onlay, an onlay can become a root canal, and gum disease can go from gingivitis to periodontitis without treatment and intervention.
When someone is depressed, they can suffer from a poor diet. Often, the motivation for healthy meals is not present in depressed individuals, and comfort from sweets and foods high in carbohydrates can wreck the oral health of the individual.
POOR ORAL HYGIENE
Another danger of depression and anxiety is poor oral hygiene. When it can be a struggle to get out of bed and find pleasure in things you used to enjoy, it can also be difficult to get motivated to brush and floss. This can cause oral health problems if it occurs regularly.
Sometimes, our depression and anxiety requires medication. Unfortunately, while these medications can be extremely beneficial, they can sometimes cause dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth can cause a lack of saliva, which in turn can make oral bacteria thrive, increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease.
Remember, there is no shame in suffering from depression and anxiety. Getting the help you need for these disorders is of the utmost importance, not just for your oral health, but for your mental and overall health.
If you do suffer from depression or anxiety, don’t neglect your oral health. Be sure you are keeping up with your brushing and flossing routine, and scheduling regular appointments with Dr. Abelar,Dentist in San Deigo to keep your teeth healthy and strong!